Cordray mum on possible governor run

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley.)

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley.)

Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray Wednesday tartly dismissed Republican calls to declare whether he would run for governor next year, telling a House GOP committee chairman he has “no further insights to provide on the subject.”

As reports circulated that Cordray would resign his post as director of a federal consumer protection bureau to seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, he refused to say whether he would serve out his term, which expires next July.

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Cordray brushed aside a demand by Hensarling on whether he would serve out his term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, writing that it was the third time the chairman had asked the question and “my answer remains the same.”

“At this time, I have no further insights to provide on that subject,” Cordray wrote.

Even as Cordray fired off his response, the CFPB website noted Cordray is scheduled to speak on Sept. 7 before a credit union organization — a scheduling move seemingly at odds with reports that he’ll announce his gubernatorial bid at a Labor Day event in Cincinnati.

Consumer Finance Monitor reported that Cordray had altered his schedule on the bureau’s website to announce that he would give remarks at the meeting of the Credit Union Advisory Council. The notice had originally indicated that the agency’s deputy director would be giving remarks.

Hensarling has emerged as a key and vocal critic of Cordray, essentially becoming a spokesman for Republican concerns that Cordray’s bureau is too powerful and is structured in a way that lacks congressional oversight.

On Monday, Hensarling sent a letter to Cordray demanding to know by Wednesday whether Cordray planned to run, citing news reports that “suggest that your personal political ambitions may be informing decisions you are making” as head of the agency.

Federal law prohibits Cordray from even discussing future political plans. He would have to step down as head of the bureau in order to run for governor.

On a conference call this summer with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Cordray deflected questions about politics, saying he would only discuss his work as head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Cordray’s five-year term will expire next summer.

As Democrats wait for Cordray to decide, four other Democrats are raising money and hiring campaign staff: former state Rep. Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

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